The recent ‘Restoring Honor’ rally at the Lincoln Center brought mixed reactions across the entire demographic spectrum of America. Certainly the patriotic spirit of the event was laudable. America needs more than a little restoration.
Somewhat troubling however was the number of professing Christian evangelicals who spoke at the rally and seemed to embrace Mr. Beck’s leadership in restoring honor to America, as if Beck’s Mormon religion is ‘as Christian’ as theirs. While it is not surprising that many, if not most, average Christians might not find Mormonism ‘troubling’ as best, that evangelical leaders embrace it on equal ground is more than a little troubling!
The sole purpose of this post is to address the question of Mormonism as authentically ‘Christian’. the material below, provided by Michael Davis, Ph. D., a former Mormon, and is available on the Internet under the title ‘Is Mormonism Christian?’. This article is an introduction to the religion of Mormonism and addresses the issue from meticulously cited Mormon sources, fully cited and contains numerous links those reference sources. Here’s the article:
Is Mormonism Christian?
The question above actually can be phrased in several ways:
- ‘Is the Mormon church a Christian denomination?‘ NO. Mormonism is not Christian because it denies some of the essential doctrines of Christianity, including: 1) the deity of Christ, 2) salvation by grace, and 3) the bodily resurrection of Christ. Furthermore, Mormon doctrine contradicts the Christian teaching of monotheism and undermines the authority and reliability of the Bible. The evidence for these statements is documented in section 3 below.
- ‘Are Mormons Christians?‘ LIKELY NOT, if they believe the major doctrines of their church.
- ‘Can a Mormon be a Christian?‘. POSSIBLY. Only God knows what each person believes (and why) regarding His Son, Jesus Christ. But as a person stays in the Mormon church, absorbs and accepts Mormon teaching, doctrine and ‘latter-day revelation’, the chances of answering the question in the affirmative approach zero. The key question Mormons must answer is ‘WHO is the Jesus they believe in‘?
In the New Testament book of 2 Corinthians, the apostle Paul warns of “another Jesus whom we have not preached… a different spirit which you have not received… a different gospel which you have not accepted” (2 Cor. 11:4).
In the New Testament book of Galatians, Paul again warns: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” (Gal. 1:8).
Ironically, this latter warning is a nearly exact description of how the Mormon church was founded:
- In 1820, Joseph Smith Jr., age 14, went into the woods near Palmyra, New York to pray concerning the different denominations of Christianity. Allegedly, God the Father and Jesus appeared to him and told him not to join any of those churches. Three years later an angel named Moroni, the son of the leader of a people called the Nephites who had lived in the Americas around 400 AD, appeared to Smith and told him that Smith had been chosen to translate a book written on golden plates by Moroni’s father. Smith claimed to receive the plates along with instructions to begin the translation, which was published in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is supposedly the account of an ancient people who came from the Middle-East to the Americas. Smith claimed that during the translation process, John the Baptist appeared to him and ordained him to accomplish the divine work of restoring the true church by preaching the true gospel which, allegedly, had been lost from the earth. From 1833-1835, a collection of additional ‘revelations from God’ to Joseph Smith were published by the LDS church as the ‘Doctrine and Covenants‘. In 1880 another work, the ‘Pearl of Great Price‘, was also added to the Mormon body of ‘scripture’.
- The Mormon view of the Bible is summed up in a statement by the most famous Mormon apologist: “The Bible of the Old World has come to us from the manuscripts of antiquity – manuscripts which passed through the hands of uninspired men who changed many parts to suit their own doctrinal ideas. Deletions were common, and, as it now stands, many plain and precious portions and many covenants of the Lord have been lost. As a consequence, those who rely upon it alone [the Bible] stumble and are confused” (Bruce McConkie, in The Ensign, December 1985, p 55).
In the material below, I examine the major doctrines of the Mormon church and compare them to those taught by orthodox Christianity. The reader can judge whether or not Mormon teachings describe a “different Jesus” and a “different gospel”.
1. A Word to Mormons. If you are a Mormon, please read the material in section 1 before you proceed.
2. Claims Made by the Mormon Church. Section 2 gives background information on the LDS (Mormon) church, their statements regarding other churches, and their claims about what constitutes ‘scripture’.
- claims to be Christian
- claims to be the only true Church
- the truth of the Mormon church should be confirmed by an inner feeling
- only Mormon scriptures are considered reliable, not the Bible
- claims to receive modern-day revelation that supercedes Biblical teaching
3. Mormon Doctrine Compared to Biblical Doctrine. Section 3 is the largest section of the material (>50 pages). It is intended to focus on Mormon teaching about 4 essential subjects. The approach taken throughout is to simply quote original sources, both Biblical and Mormon, with minimal commentary. The reader can decide if there is a conflict between the two and is encouraged to look up the original materials. Each of the four sections is indexed to a summary table comparing Mormon with Biblical beliefs.
- Mormon teachings about God
- Mormon teachings about Jesus
- Mormon teachings about salvation
- Mormon teachings about man
4. Mormon Literature and Leaders. This reference section gives more information on source materials plus brief descriptions of the people and books quoted in sections 2 and 3. It is important to know the background because many of the Mormon authors spoke in an official capacity or claimed to have direct revelation from God. If Mormons argue that their prophets weren’t speaking authoritatively, they haven’t read the original quotations of their leaders.
5. Unique Mormon Definitions. Mormons, especially LDS missionaries, use many of the same Biblical terms familiar to Christians. Yet most of these terms carry different meanings, making it critically important to define those terms.
6. Other Serious Problems with Mormonism. Major doctrinal issues are covered above, but there are many other difficulties and inconsistencies with Mormonism. In this section, I’ve made a partial list of these and given some useful starting points for further investigation. The serious truth-seeker should examine each of these topics.
7. Topical Index to this site. A different way to access most of this material.